The Importance Of The Cultural Training Education Essay

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In recent years there has been a drastic change in the pattern of the work force where there has been a lot of involvement of the multicultural people in various organisations. So every organisation had started concentrating to improve their essential skills through various training programme (Sabo, 2000). During this process they recruit, train and promote from global labour pool (Herr, 1990). Moreover there has been tremendous increase in the number of the minority enrolment in the organisation at different levels. So every organisation is more focused to get prepared to learn and work with different people with different cultural background throughout the world internationally. In order to understand and to cope up with different people employees are provided with needful training programmes as well as strategies. And in these training programmes much focus is given over the conflicts in the cross-cultural relationships (Sue and Sue, 1990). Difference in these learning styles can act as a hindrance to the training programmes. Apart from these there are certain internal factors like self-esteem and attitude which will act as barriers during the training work area (Field and Aebersold, 1990). Moreover internal personal relation skills are the most general skill which is provided in every training programme (Greenan and Winters, 1991). And these skills are inter-related to each other and their impacts over the training programmes are immense.

Cross cultural management:

There has been significant increase in the cross cultural interactions among people and organisations because organisations are trying to prosper and develop globally in order to become earn more profit. (Alder, 1983, 1991; blunt and Richards, 1993) stated that the importance of International Human Resource Management has been increasing in terms of academic and practical aspects. (Black and Mendenhall, 1990) argued that cross cultural training is an effective way for facilitating effective cross cultural interactions. In old days, multinational companies used to focus on only one dimension while selection of an employee for foreign assignment and that is technical competence without considering the effects of interpersonal skills and relationship skills (Mendenhall et al., 1987, Miller, 1973, Tung, 1981). Cross cultural management deals with selection of candidates for international project,

Cultural training Models:

During these training the trainers use few words like training and orientation which are very frequent in their educational pattern. Orientation means getting acquainted with the surrounding environment or situation (Batchelder, 1978). orientation is characterised as who, what, when and where approach regarding their preparation period but in training every individual learns practically about the environment, learns the required skills and approaches depending upon the situation. Finally they become so potential and capable enough that start performing well in those new environments effectively. There are various models which are used by the trainee to train the students. These are some of them.




(Bennett, J. M. (1986) "Modes of cross-cultural training: conceptualizing cross-cultural training as education". International Journal of International Relation, Vol. 10: 117-134

Table. : Models used in the cultural training





Cognitive Behavioural

Affective behavioural

Cognitive affective behavioural


Cultural specific (who, what, when and where)

Cultural specific (who, what, when, where, and how)

Cultural specific cultural general (who, what, when, where, how and why)




Experimental intellectual

Source: Bennett, J. M. (1986), pp.121

Various cross-cultural training theories:

(Fiedler et al., 1971; Mitchell et al., 1972) stated that there are four different types of teaching- learning theories are most effective for cross cultural training and these are:





Cognitive assimilator theory:

This is also called as the 'Class room', 'University' Model (Harrison & Hopkins, 1966). Here it is believed that the cognitive understanding is essential for effective performance because here the participants learn the things with their interest towards the learning. Fiedler et al. (1971); Mitchell et al. (1972); Landis et al. (1976); Randolph et al. (1977); Worchel and Mitchell (1972); and Weldon et al. (1975) designed and developed this theory to assess the knowledge of candidates regarding cultural difference and their impact on their performance while performing work in a different country. This theory involves preparation of short incidents that describe the interactions between sojourners (someone visiting or living temporarily in given country) and host national (native of given country). So, the candidates are divided into groups and each group has to study series of multicultural incidents collectively. For each incident, candidates used to get various multidimensional questions and they have to choose one option based on their knowledge and preferences (Parhizgar, 1998).


It is a cross-cultural experiential training program. It includes five types of processes and these are :

Attention: candidates are required to have deep and close concentration on some particular events. They have to notice some key things only and ignore others. However, some cultural values do not require close attention because these values are quite similar to candidate's own culture values.

Selection: the trainees have to select some particular kind of cultural values, beliefs and behaviour patterns to be learnt and analyzed.

Detachment: it includes finding of cultural values, beliefs and behaviour patterns that are quite different from trainees own culture in order to learn effectively other culture in simplest way.

Emphasize: the trainees has to give more attention towards certain parts of selected cultural values in order to deeply understand the basic functioning of that culture. It also helps in analysing the emotive power of images which varies according to individual's own perceptual values.

Variety and contrast: if trainees find that the new cultural environment is extreme and visible in the same way as their own culture, then trainees do not able to learn significantly. So, to learn effectively, trainees have to see or hear the new culture from different way otherwise similarity causes them to lose interest (Parhizgar, 1998).


(Bandura, 1969; Sims, Jr., & Gioia, 1986) stated social learning theory which argued that to understand the behaviour of a person we need to study person's social and intellectual environment. It consists of taking trainees to field trip to a different country to observe and analyse the cultural patterns directly. This theory comprises of eight components namely:

Observation: in the simplest way, trainees can watch and record events on the basis of their observation. (Moorhead & Griffin, 1990) described various forms of observation that trainees are free to use and important ones among them are - structured observation, participated observation and hidden observation. Structured observation involves look after of particular type of events by the trainees to learn on particular area. In participated observation, trainees have to actually participate in the events and record the meaningful effects in their dairy. Inspection and observational recording of the events without the pre and post knowledge of observers play an important role in hidden observation.

Attention: this process helps in determining the selection of events that is required to extract important information from those interactions. The factors that may change or disturb the trainee's attention are - position, interest and analogy of the model and the repeated availability of the modes (Black & Mendenhall, 1990).

Perception: (Zalkin & Costello, 1962) stated that a person has to gone through series of processes to understand information about modelled cultural behaviour. It also helps in increasing the awareness of person regarding its knowledge of modelled cultural behaviour.

Apperception: the process of embedding or incorporating new concepts into one's own culture - habits, desires, interests and values is known as apperception. The manmade instruments like cultural traits are responsible for generating particular types of psychological responses in human beings. The observer has to show desire and interest in order to understand the order or nature of thoughts of other cultures.

Retention: (Black & Mendenhall, 1990) stated that the process by which we can incorporate modelled or desired behaviour as memory is called retention.

Innovation: it is a process which helps us in the explanation of new things or concepts in terms of general and specific characteristics, common values and principles. It also plays an important role in challenging the existing knowledge as well as to discover the new concepts.

Adaptation: in the simplest form, adaptation means is to make adjustments effectively to know the cultural environment, factors behind the environment change, and how people able to new concepts by means of acculturation.

Behavioral modification: it means the interpretation and utilisation of new learned cultural behaviour and values that is to be embedded in the person's own culture. It is the process of conversion of behaviour of a person to understand the other culture in deeper way.


Modem humanistic cultural training theory is concerned with two main types of teaching learning phenomena. One consists of cultural philosophy: ethics, morality, literature, poems, religion and other distinguished fields of inquiry such as metaphysics (cosmology, ontology, and causality), epistemology and axiology. The second consists of related human ritual activities, modes of collective cultural perceptions and experiences in creativity, productivity, or performing arts and those involved in perceiving, appreciating, using, enjoying, evaluating, managing, teaching, and preaching values dealing with it. This theory presents a challenge to the trainee's philosophy and free ways of understanding. It is founded on the theory that learning occurs primarily through reflection on personal experience. The work of a collaborative group of trainers-multicultural trainers-is not to put anything in the mind or repertoire of the trainees, but to extract views from the trainees' own sensational and rational insights and experiences. It is a deductive and dialectic teaching-learning approach. On the basis of trainee's experiences, trainers explain stimulated statements, then trainees make new connections in a composite formation. Both teaching and learning processes are inductive in terms of reasoning, assertion, visualization, reflection and generalization of the facts. A humanistic approach is manipulated neither by trainers nor by trainees. It is the natural flow of approaching and experiencing with highly motivated techniques (Parhizgar, 1998).

Integrationist approach: Research suggested that to enhance the success of person who is going to work in a different country in terms of performance and personal satisfaction, person has to go through acculturation. Berry (1997) proposed a theoretical model to attain acculturation easily and effectively is by means of integrationist approach. This approach is quite different to separation, assimilation and marginalisation. The organisation has to encourage their employees who have been selected for an international project to take or follow above said approach in order to understand new culture by means of acculturation. In this approach, candidates are asked to retain or memorise their own culture as well as to learn new concepts and values related to the new culture (Abbott et al., 2006).

Cultural theory:

Downs (1970) explained four types of training models for cross cultural issues:

Intellectual Model: this model comprises of lectures and reading materials about a culture that is different from person's own culture and it is based on that the exchange of information regarding new culture is helpful in living in different culture.

Area Simulation Model: this model is generally referred to as culture specific training program. These training programs are based on belief that an individual has to get special training regarding the culture he/she is going to enter. These programs mainly involve analysis of future behaviour of an individual for particular situation in the new culture.

Self Awareness Model: this model is based on assumption that to understand a new culture, it is vital for an individual to first understand the person from the different culture. To understand person, means understanding likes, dislikes, behaviour, social values and norms of that particular person.

Culture Awareness Model: (harris and Moran, 1991) stated that to work effectively and strongly in another culture, an individual has to learn the basic or general behaviour principles that is accepted by the society with respect within that type of culture.

Developing Cross-Cultural Management Skills : Experiential Learning in an

Generally, there are two major types of training programs that are used by organisation in order to give training to their potential employees to learn some new techniques and strategies and applies the already learnt techniques for smooth and proper functioning in a different country. The first type is culture general and other type is culture specific. Both types of training programs have distinct features and characteristics. (fiedler et al., 1971) designed and illustrated the oldest, culture specific approach which involves forced choice answers of people from one culture who are being received training in respect of other culture. The aim of culture specific training program is to give general information regarding new culture to employees so that before actually going to a different country, they enable to do some preparation to deal with cross cultural issues. This type of training approach is preferable when an individual is often going to one particular country. On the other hand, as organisation starts working hard to become a global player to earn more money, then the focus of the organisations begin shifting towards culture general training program (David, 1997).

Parameters of cultural differences:

In the past, lot of researchers and anthropologists have been tried to define culture and the distinguish feature that constitutes culture. The study by Hofstede( 1981, in Hofstede. 2001) explained the difference between cultures on various parameters namely - collectivism vs. individualism, high power distance vs. low power distance, high uncertainty avoidance vs. Low uncertainty avoidance, masculinity vs. feminism and long vs. short term goals. The detailed description of above said parameters is given below:

Individualism vs. Collectivism: It is the degree to which a human is bound under societal norms and values while making any decision. In an individualistic culture, people have been encouraged or supported to make their own decisions to live their life without consulting their decisions with others. On the other hand, people in collectivist culture have been encouraged to make decisions in groups and always support team work.

High power distance vs. Low power distance: it is the degree to which the power of making decisions has been allocated in the society. Generally, people with high power distance always give importance to hierarchy in making vital decisions while people with low power distance give authority to every individual to take part in decision making without following hierarchical order.

Masculinity vs. Feminism: it is the extent to which a society allows the individual to take part in working culture on the basis of gender. In a masculine culture, men considered to be working harder than women while in a feministic culture, women are also given equal opportunity as compared to men to live their life.

High uncertainty avoidance vs. Low uncertainty avoidance: it is the degree to which an individual is encouraged to work in a challenging or unpredictable environment. In high uncertainty avoidance, people prefer to work under strict rules and formally structured ways of doing work. While in low uncertainty avoidance, people prefer to work freely and like to devise new ways of doing things and challenging the past ways.

Long vs. Short term goals: it is the degree to which a culture given importance to timeframe to learn something new. People with long term goals, characterised by patience, emotional stability and anxiety and they prefer working in such a way that they will be able to deliver a better future. On the other hand, people with short term goals always focus their attention to make their present better than past without considering the impacts of their decisions on future.

Advantages of cross cultural training:

To increase the knowledge and experience of employees to enhance their understanding to seeing the world from wider perspective.

To maximize the cultural sensitivity.

To learn how to avoid misunderstandings based on cultural differences.

To learn how to communicate verbally and non-verbally with colleagues in other cultures.

To increase the flexibility of the employees to adjust in different culture.

Hence cross-cultural training can be seen as a tool for improving the corporate culture and practices by constantly learning through induction of foreign nationals in the organizations. Further the cross-cultural training will help to reduce the psychological stress and cultural shock which often lead to failure of expatriates.